Tunis/Tunisia — The online launch of the 2nd phase of the project “Promotion of Export Activities to New Markets in Sub-Saharan Africa” (PEMA II), is scheduled for June 29, the Export Promotion Centre (CEPEX) said Sunday.
The PEMA project is implemented by GIZ, under the mandate of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), in cooperation with the Ministry of Trade and Export Development and the Export Promotion Center (CEPEX).
The goal is to enable more Tunisian SMEs tap into the commercial potential of the new markets in sub-Saharan Africa.
The project offers a range of business services. The emphasis is on business partnerships within consortia, the development of new markets, digital approaches, networking as well as promoting public-private dialogue. More precisely, the project calls for promoting women-led businesses which are under-represented in the export sector.
The project has already helped 4 export consortia develop a strategy to boost trade with sub-Saharan Africa. Within the framework of these consortia, several companies are joining forces to better position themselves together on foreign markets. The consortia are: Tunisia Building Partners (building), Taste Tunisia (agrifood), Tunisia Health Alliance (health) and Get’IT (information and communication).
To facilitate trade between Tunisia and sub-Saharan Africa, the project is creating appropriate services in cooperation with CEPEX. Through this, companies have better access to African markets. This involves creating a range of services for business leaders, developing new digital services and organising exchange formats with African companies.
Together with the Ministry of Trade and Export Development, the project team improves communication channels and creates formats for public-private dialogue. The goal is to involve Tunisian SMEs in the negotiations and the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and COMESA. Regional cooperation with other countries has to increase so as to provide export opportunities for Tunisian companies.
Tunisian exports are limited to a few geographical areas: In 2018, the Mediterranean region attracted nearly three quarters of national exports, while only 3% were destined to sub-Saharan Africa. Yet, countries of the south of the Sahara have recorded remarkable growth in recent years.
Following Tunisia’s accession to the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), Tunisia’s exports have had duty-free access to fifteen African countries since January 2020.
Likewise, the application of the AfCFTA in 2020 could further boost trade between Tunisia and the rest of Africa, as in the years to come, a gradual lifting of customs barriers is expected.